Staff Pick

A prolific novelist, Millet has worked at the NRDC and the Center for Biological Diversity, so the dystopian element of her fiction—massive storms, dengue fever, food shortages, and another round of storms--has more than the average ring of truth. But the climatic drama is only one part of this rich, multi-layered story. Narrated by Evie, a sharp, frustrated, and endearing seventeen-year-old, the book is the younger generation’s indictment of the older one; to Evie, as to countless teens before her—though seldom with stakes as high as they are in the Anthropocene--the parents are “a cautionary tale.” Writing them off, Evie devotes herself to her younger brother, and the bond between her and Jack perhaps serves as a model for nurturing relationships of the future, as does Jack’s determination to save animals. A nine-year-old Noah, he’s also something of a prophet, and in his reading of an illustrated bible, god means nature, Christ means science, and, as Evie speculates, the holy spirit is the human capacity for creation. Given the magnitude of the problems Millet lays out, she doesn’t quite say that art will save us, but she ends this thought-provoking, buoyant novel on the hopeful note that life, if not humans, will go on.

A Children's Bible: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324005032
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 12th, 2020

Staff Pick

Small is an anthropologist, but her revealing examination of the lives of the homeless is less an objective study of “them” than an effort to “open windows of clarity and compassion” and so enable people to work together to find solutions to a problem that affects and implicates everyone. Making the rounds of shelters, pawnshops, government services offices, and food pantries with Ross, a former homeless military vet she got to know in the eponymous dog park, Small sees first-hand the travails of “the human fallout of our economic system,” and comes to understand homelessness as not “an aberration” due to individual circumstances and decisions but the “product” of the way we—all of us—live today. 


The Man in the Dog Park: Coming Up Close to Homelessness Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501748783
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Cornell University Press - April 15th, 2020

Staff Pick

A planetary scientist, Johnson is passionate about searching for life in unlikely places—whether that means an isolated Australian lake “stippled with halite, a…table salt,” above the cloud line on a Hawaiian volcano—or on Mars. Hopes for life on the red planet have always been high, with early observers mistaking Martian dust for vegetation and even elaborate civic projects. Yet as more sophisticated explorations have exposed these as fictions, actual pictures of that red dust have produced evidence that the conditions to support life really did exist there once. As she traces the challenges, findings, and failures of a string of Surveyors, Rovers, and Explorers, Johnson’s meticulous and lyrical descriptions (the sky on Mars, for instance, isn’t black or blue but butterscotch) convey not only the science but the human quest for meaning that’s driven the work—despite the fact that “half the missions to Mars have failed”; Johnson’s own engagement in this endeavor has been so deep that her first child was due on the same day the Curiosity was scheduled to land on Mars, giving added oomph to her conviction that these missions represent “an almost existential endeavor…to learn what life really is.” 

The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101904817
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Crown - July 7th, 2020